“You feel the things most of us run away from, the things the rest of us are too bottled up to feel”Colin Firth, Arthur Newman
Picture this: Colin Firth and Emily Blunt’s characters are sitting by a motel pool. Emily Blunt’s character (Mike) is having a panic attack like you’ve never seen because she’s afraid that she will end up schizophrenic like her sister. Colin Firth’s character (Arthur) sits with her and says the above. And it hit me like a ton of bricks; I don’t think I’ve ever related to anything more. Because I’m the same way. I feel everything so powerfully, especially when I’m trying to make sense of something.
Hearing Arthur say that to Mike was liberating for me. Someone finally said that it was okay to be overwhelmed by feelings some times. It’s not necessarily fun, of course, but it doesn’t make me crazy. And as long as I have a grip on reality — for example, I don’t start thinking fictional characters are real — it can actually be an asset as a writer. If certain characters didn’t mean as much to me as they do, I wouldn’t be able to come up with my own stories about them. My fan fiction wouldn’t exist.
However, there’s also another reason I love Arthur Newman. And no, it’s not just because Emily Blunt is important to me, though she is the reason I wanted to watch the movie in the first place. I was able to relate to the movie as a whole. Colin Firth’s character was actually a man named Wallace Avery, a man who faked his own death to get a new lease on life. He sees Mike in the aftermath of a car accident and takes her to the hospital.
After she’s released from the hospital and she hitches a ride with him, Mike realizes Arthur isn’t who he claims to be — she find his real ID in his car, which he stole (or maybe he paid for it, I can’t remember). Wallace/Arthur is obviously annoyed, but he doesn’t get mad or tell her to go away. He’s not afraid his secret will be exposed.
As they spend the next few days together and get to know each other, Mike spills her own beans — her real name is Charlotte. “Mike” is actually a nickname of sorts for her sister, Mckayla, whom she dropped off at a mental hospital and whose identity she stole. She wanted a fresh start in life, too.
This next part gets a little crazy. In the course of their whirlwind relationship, they break into people’s houses and … hang out, to put it lightly. It was a bit triggering for me because I didn’t want them to cross the line and lose their grip on reality — that’s my own worst fear. At the same time, I gave them the benefit of the doubt because I know what it’s like to want to be someone else. Their brokenness and need for escapism brought them together, and that’s what really resonated with me. They eventually went their separate ways and back to their own realities, but it was nice while it lasted.